People: Derwent Training; Deyton Bell; Eddisons; and more

The CEO of Derwent Training, based in Malton, has been selected to chair the EAL Advisory Group, part of the Enginuity Group.

Claire Gavaghan will now lead the Advisory Group which consists of providers and employers from across the nations of the UK, including BAE Systems, Jaguar Land Rover and Toyota.

EAL is the specialist skills partner and awarding organisation for industry.

Gavaghan said: “It’s a real honour to receive this recognition and be selected to help drive forward the excellent work that the Advisory Group does.

“Made up of highly regarded individuals from all areas of the industry, we are committed to ensuring the continued delivery of outstanding training in engineering and manufacturing.”

Gavaghan has worked in post-16 education for over 30 years and has extensive experience of working with and for awarding organisations.

Her involvement with apprenticeships began in 2010 at a large Further Education College in Essex where she led on the engineering, construction and automotive curriculum.

Derwent Training Association, which was founded 35 years ago, provides training to apprentices, employers and individuals to build skills and improve employability across Yorkshire and the North East from its centre in Malton.


Neil Darwin, managing director of Leeds and Cambridge-based economic and commercial development consultancy Deyton Bell, has been appointed to the Institute of Economic Development (IED) Board of Directors.

With over 30 years’ experience working in economic development, he has led Deyton Bell’s support for global public, private and not-for-profit organisations via consultancy, in-house and outsourced services since December 2020, having first joined the organisation in 2017.

Darwin specialises in strategy development, programme management, delivery and change management, developing organisational capacity and capability, and works with partners across the UK and Europe.

Having held a number of economic development roles across public and private sectors, and with extensive experience in political environments, he is aiming to bring a wealth of knowledge to support the IED’s mission for change.

He said: “The economic development landscape is currently the most fractured I have known with a critical debate underway between growth and inclusion, with a need for rapid action to achieve net zero.

“These macro challenges require the IED to have a strong national voice and exert influence as we move towards the next general election.

“Recent progress by the IED has been positive and the Grow Local, Grow National manifesto presents an important blueprint for the sector and Government to grasp. The scale of the challenge facing the sector was my motivation for seeking a board position.

“My work with various local authorities has shown that in an era of austerity, economic development capacity has diminished, yet those same authorities rely heavily on economic development to keep their communities prosperous and increasingly bring in new income.

“We are on the cusp of change, and the IED’s call for councils to be given statutory powers over economic development is the manifesto for delivering it.”

IED chair Tom Stannard added: “I am pleased to welcome Neil to the Board, not least given his vast experience working in economic development across public, private and government sectors, all of which make up IED membership.”


Eddisons has appointed Nazar Soofi, former head of decarbonisation at Leeds City Council, to the new role of head of sustainability and decarbonisation.

The move marks a major strategic hire for the growing property consultancy as it launches its own sustainability centre of excellence, based at its Leeds head offices.

Headed by Soofi, the centre will act as a hub to provide advice on carbon reduction and environmental best practice across the public and private sectors.

Credited with delivering a £50m decarbonisation programme at Leeds City Council, Soofi has led the transformation of more than 80 sites in the city since 2021, including Leeds Town Hall, Civic Hall and Central Library, transitioning them from fossil fuels reliance to renewable energy.

Prior to taking on the city council’s decarbonisation mission he had a 25-year engineering career, delivering major fast-track projects for organisations such as Emirates Global Aluminium and engineering giant Bechtel.

He has worked in the UK and internationally on high profile schemes including the Channel Tunnel Railway and Abu Dhabi’s main container traffic hub, Khalifa Port, in fields as diverse as mining and civil engineering.

Soofi said: “I’m really excited to take on this new role with Eddisons, which as a business is ahead of the curve on sustainability.

“My appointment is testament to the fact that they are fully committed to supporting their clients to realising their net zero ambitions.

“The new centre of excellence will be an accessible one stop shop providing practical advice on anything from a cradle to grave project to troubleshooting, and the most practical ways to achieve sustainability aims.”

Anthony Spencer, Eddisons managing partner, said: “Naz is a leading light in the field of decarbonisation and sustainability and we are absolutely thrilled that he is joining Eddisons, where his contribution will enable us to make a step change in the services we can offer our clients in providing the very best advice and practical assistance on sustainability.

“We are passionate about sustainability and there is huge and growing demand from our clients for advice on best practice in this area.

“Headed by Naz, our new centre of excellence will be a ground-breaking facility that will act as a beacon in the progress to net zero.”


Global landscape architecture and urban design consultancy, Gillespies, has strengthened its northern leadership with the promotion of Sam Hutchison to associate partner. 

In his new role, he will support the leadership team in Leeds and Manchester to drive new UK and international business.

He joined Gillespies’ London studio in 2013 as a landscape architect. He was promoted to senior landscape architect in 2016 and became a Principal in 2018, before relocating to the practice’s Leeds studio.

Two years later he was promoted to associate. 

Hutchison has played a pivotal role in several noteworthy projects across London, the North and overseas.  

One of his most notable achievements is the design of the 300m-long roof terrace at the new purpose-built Google Headquarters in King’s Cross, which is currently under construction, and the design of the public realm and podium of One Thames City.

In Stockport, he is leading the on-site delivery of Stockport Interchange, building on previous work undertaken by Gillespies.

He is also leading the team to deliver a new public square in Huddersfield and the multi-million pound Heart of Africa habitat and overnight lodges at Chester Zoo.

Tom Walker, partner at Gillespies’ Leeds studio, said: “Sam is a brilliant leader and imaginative designer who has shown an unwavering commitment to delivering exceptional projects that focus on enhancing quality of life.

“His projects are characterised by immersive settings and enriched by compelling narratives.

“He has also played a key role in driving new business and developing key client relationships for the Leeds and Hale studio.

“We are really proud to support Sam in this next chapter of his story at Gillespies.”